Thursday, August 23, 2012

Communication, conditioning key for Jets' defense

Photo: Nick St. Denis 


The New England Patriots' offense goes no-huddle often. The Miami Dolphins will do the same under new coach Joe Philbin, and the Buffalo Bills do their fair share of no-huddle, as well.

So New York Jets coach Rex Ryan wants his annually-stout defense to be up to the task in 2012. And with Ryan, it starts with conditioning.

"... we have to be in unbelievable shape. You need to be in that kind of conditioning," Ryan told the media Wednesday. "A lot of these teams are going no-huddle. You see Miami and Buffalo, all these teams, New England obviously, with that no-huddle attack you have to be in great shape.

"That's something that we're telling our guys. You see them doing more wind sprints and all that. They're not just going through the body of practice, but even on their own that they'll be working that way."

There's no question the Jets have gotten faster on defense, whether you're looking at the youth movement on the defensive line or the trimming down of guys like linebacker Bart Scott.

But now in their fourth year under Ryan, the Jets feel their communication is the best it's ever been, and that's just as important for team speed as conditioning.

"I was talking with [Darrelle] Revis, and I was like you know, right now it seems like we're dialed in on the communication part of the game and that's huge," Ryan said. "That's when you can play fast. Even your young defensive linemen are getting into it. We're seeing very few mental mistakes over there. That allows you to play faster."

The Jets' defense hasn't been ranked outside the top five since Ryan took over in 2009. Despite all the talk about the team's shortcomings on offense, there's no reason to think the 'D' won't continue its elite-status trend.

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